tv Constituting Liberty Exhibit CSPAN August 19, 2016 11:03pm-11:48pm EDT
we're standing in front of our 1960 hot point refrigerator, which is a beautiful aqua blue, and contains some brightly colored, behind me, tupperware. i'm here to tell you a little bit about the back story on its namesake, earl tupper. earl tupper is what i would say a classic independent american inventor. he grew up thinking that he would become famous through his inventions and his inventions would make him a millionaire. he was born in new hampshire. and then moved to western massachusetts, which was really a hub for inventors. and his parents were sort of small farmers. and they lived, you know, a sort of hard scrabble life. this is his diary, from the 1930s. he graduates from high school in 1925. he has a very active imagination and mind. he couldn't afford to go to college, but again, he thinks
about becoming this inventor. and he keeps a notebook, actually, he keeps several notebooks and we have them at the museum. this is invention diary and sketch book where he's recording his ideas. earl tupper, shirley, massachusetts. and then -- i think this is so fascinating, this first page starts with my purpose in life. and he really outlines sort of his goals for his career as an inventor. and then goes on and on. this diary is from the 1930s, as i said, and it really is -- he's inventing and trying to start a business inventing in probably the worst moment in american history, which is 1933, when 25% of americans are out of work. there are dozens of inventions in here. he tries all sorts of things, from personal care products like
pocket combs to corsets, to my favorite, which is a rumble seat protector. so he's doing add-ons to cars, something that would keep you dry when you're sitting in your car. that's one thing that he tries to patent it. he protects the idea, and he tried to market it. and he runs into the same problems that most independent inventors face, which were the capital to produce the invention, to actually manufacture it. but then also, the money and the knowledge to market it, to bring it to a market so that people would buy it. and you see his struggles with those things throughout the diary. okay. so let me put this underneath my cart and i'm going to bring out some of the other objects that we have in a very large earl tupper collection. so this is his patent, much later, for tupperware, for the
sealable bowl. this is 1957. so now he's moved forward in time. this is a product spot that would have been done by the tupper company of their early products. this is when tupperware was all white and not in colors yet. and then this is a pretty unusual and rare photograph of earl tupper at his desk talking to probably an engineer about the production of tupperware. and the many different forms that it would come in, because they didn't just make these, what were called bowls, but we're probably mostly familiar with, and not even these. he really expands into an entire line of specialized containers, some of which are actually behind me.
a salad dressing container, and my favorite, the millionaire drink shaker, so you could make your cocktails and keep them in the fridge without spilling. plastics are really a 20th century material. they are new. and so he has an early encounter with dupont, the big plastics and dupont makes a lot of things including gun powder in this period, and they have a subsidiary in massachusetts, and so he works there for about a year. and then after world war ii, he gets a piece of polyethylene, which is a much more flexible plastic. and he actually invents from that an even more flexible and translucent plastic. this is all sort of post-world war ii, just as the consumer market for these things are really taking off. and he sort of enters that
market with this new product and with a new material. american consumers and the women who did most of the buying for the home were really skeptical about plastic containers. they would much rather, even after world war ii, inclined to use glass. it was easier to clean. they thought about plastics, again, as like fragile or brittle or stinky like the plastic itself had an odor, or that they would not be clean or easy to clean. and glass was all of those things. so tupper faced not just an invention challenge but a marketing challenge. like how to get women to buy the plastic container over the glass container. so earl tupper had a great product. but he didn't have a great way to sell it. and a lot of independent inventors and indeed companies struggle with how to market their goods. especially if they're new on the market. if consumers haven't seen them before.
what earl tupper does is he tries a number of selling venues. one is department stores. he places his products there, and it falls flat. people are not buying it because there's really nobody to tell you, again, what the benefits of the product are. eventually, he figures out that family home products, which is a direct consumer sales, somebody who knocks on your door and says do you want to buy these products and demonstrates them for you, was really, there were a few sales people who were really moving tupperware. one was brownie weisz. a woman who really was a gifted salesperson herself and a big personality. she would come out of world war ii where she worked in an airplane factory, and then took up home sales as a way to support herself. earl tupper hears about her. here they are, and eventually, makes her vice president of the company in charge of sales. and she moves the sales wing to
florida. and she really does several things that are innovative. one is she sells with women to other women. and she incorporates this kind of stay at home domestic woman who is a mother and a wife or just a wife, as a way to make a little extra money on the side for things that they might want to buy. and that gives women a tremendous incentive to sell. and she taps into that. she also creates all sorts of other incentives and annual conference where the top sellers get really fabulous prizes like fur coats and new cars. and really gets the sales force into the culture of tupperware and into selling. and a lot of fun, these things were themed. the parties were like landing on the moon space-themed party or caveman party. she makes it really, really fun.
we have a couple of other sales literature things that were given out to the saleswomen. so here's a demonstration. and this really all hinged on the demonstration, again, women who were the main shoppers for the home were not necessarily sold on plastic containers. but if they got why they would keep fresh food fresher longer in a sealed container and why plastic had some benefits, then they would buy. and here's another piece of sales literature in our collection. it's a great color palette. and here are the fabulous products. and here's our millionaire drink shaker here that's in the refrigerator. you could own them in different colors, which was also a sales technique. so that's why this story is in the consumer era section of american enterprise.
this is -- the era is really 1945 to the 1970s. and it's a moment when americans across the board really have more money. so there is a middle class again. but from the 19 -- late 1920s through the 1930s, the depression and then through the world war ii years, americans just didn't have a lot of money to spend on consumer purchases. the depression, people are out of work, during the war there's rationing so people have more money, but there's fewer things to buy. now, finally, after world war ii, americans have a little bit more money in their pockets, and they are spending it on houses, on appliances, and on things to fill those appliances and live the good life in america, which they computed with consumption. you have seen only a small part of our innovation wing today, but it's a permanent exhibition and there are more stories, more objects, and more american
history if you come down to visit us. thank you very much. >> you can watch this and other american artifacts programs by visiting our website, c-span.org/history. american history tv airs on c-span3 every weekend, telling the american story through events, interviews, and visits to historic locations. this month, american history tv is in primetime to introduce you to programs you could see every weekend on c-span3. our features include lectures in history, visits to college classrooms across the country to hear lectures by top history professors. american artifacts takes a look at the treasures at u.s. historic sites, museums, and archives. reel america, revealing the 20th century through archival films and news reels. the civil war, where you hear about the people who shaped the civil war and reconstruction. and the presidency focuses on u.s. presidents and first ladies to learn about their politics,
policies, and legacies. all this month in primetime and every weekend on american history tv on c-span3. each week, american history tv's american artifacts visits museums and historic places. and up next, a visit to the national constitution center in philadelphia to learn about the exhibit constituting liberty from the declaration to the bill of rights. our tour guide is president and ceo jeffrey rosen. >> the national constitution center is a very special place. it's the only institution in america that has a charter from congress to disseminate information about the u.s. constitution on a nonpartisan basis. that means we bring together all sides in the constitutional debates that transfix america to debate not political issues but constitutional issues so that you the people can make up your own mind. we do that in three ways. with the museum of we the
people, which is this beautiful museum here on independence hall in philadelphia, and i'm looking out on one of the most beautiful constitutional views in america, independence hall, where the declaration of independence and the constitution were drafted. we're also america's town hall, a center for debates and symposiums and podcasts and you can find us on c-span and online at constitutioncenter.org, and a center for constitutional education, and we're building the best interactive constitution on the web so you can click on any provision of the constitution, hear the best arguments on both sides about it history and contemporary meaning and decide what you think it means. but today is a very exciting day for me because i have the chance to share with you our president george h.w. bush gallery, which displays rare copies of the declaration of independence, the constitution, and the bill of rights. we're now one of the only places in america aside from the national archives where you can
see rare copies of these three priceless charters of freedom in one place. what we have tried to do in this gallery is tell a story. a story of the evolution of rights and in particular how the rights that were promised in the declaration of independence are implicit in the constitution and were finally codified in the bill of rights. so let me sort of set the stage by telling about the evolution of rights and we can look at each of the documents and talk about what it means. so what we have tried to do in this gallery is tell the story about the relationship between the declaration, the constitution, and the bill of rights. and we have written up a pamphlet which you can find online that's thrilling and completely incisive pamphlet which happens to be written by me and david rubenstein, who has lent the rare copy of the declaration of independence. we were trying to encapsulate and set the stage by talking
about their similarities and differences. here's our introduction. the declaration of independence, the constitution and bill of rights are the three most important documents in american history. they express the ideals that define we the people of the united states and inspire free people around the world. how did each document influence the next? in america's ongoing quest for liberty and equality? our three core documents have different purposes, still all have preamble. all were drafted by people of similar backgrounds, generally educated white men of property. most importantly, the declaration, the constitution, and the bill of rights are based on the idea that all people have certain fundamental and inherent rights that governments are created to protect. the declaration, the constitution, and the bill of rights are in many ways fused together in the minds of americans because they represent what is best about america. they are symbols of the liberty that allows us to achieve success and equality that insures we're all equal in the eyes of the law.
so underlying each of the three documents is a philosophy. and it's a philosophy of rights and in particular of natural rights. what was a natural right? the framers disagree about many things, but they agreed that all men, men and women, have certain unalienable, inherent, and fundamental rights. these rights in us by virtue of the fact we're human. they come from god or nature, not from government, and the framers believed that these rights could be discerned by the mind of men, by reason. and they talked often about the same kind of rights as being natural and unalienable. the right to worship god according to the dictates of conscious. the rights of enjoying life and liberty, and pursuing and obtaining happiness and safety and in particular, in some ways most importantly of all, they talked about the unalienable right of individuals to alter
and abolish government wherever it becomes destructive of these ends. there was a theory of the nature the framers absorbed from philosophers like john locke and thomas jefferson read these philosophers as did george mason, the author of the virginia declaration of rights. jefferson when he wrote his declaration of independence had beside him at his desk two documents, the virginia declaration written by george mason and his own virginia constitution, which jefferson had drafted. so what was the philosophy of natural rights? the basic idea is when we're born in the state of nature, before we move into civil society, we're inhered with these certain fundamental rights. when we move into the state of nature, we surrender to the government or alienate temporary control over certain rights, but the point of that is to insure better security and safety of
the rights we have retained. that's why we give the government temporary control over punishment of private bounds. to protect our rights of life. we give the government the ability to regulate certain natural rights in order to protect the rights we retain. but there are certain things we can't alienate. i can't alienate to you my right to worship god or not because my religious beliefs and opinions and freedom of thought is the product of reason, operating on my external sensation. so that's why conscience is an unalienable natural right. it might be the case when government become tyrannical and menaces and threatens these rights rather than protecting them. basically, breaking the terms of the social contract. under those circumstances, the framers believed people had not only a right but an obligation to alter and abolish government so it would protect the rights rather than threatening them. that really is the idea that
unites the three documents, the declaration, the constitution, and bill of rights. you have the declaration, which is a document that is breaking way from england because of the claim that the king of england had broken the social contract and was threatening basic unalienable natural rights. you have the constitution, which creates a frame of government energetic enough to achieve common purposes like taxing for war and regulating the economy, but is also constrained enough so it protects rights rather than threatening them, and finally the bill of rights itself which actually spells out the basic rights that the framers believed were natural and unalienable, for the greater security and safety of insuring that the government is going to keep its ends of the bargain. there's a great drama about whether or not to list the rights that had to be protected, whether that was a good idea or a bad idea. that was one of the main divisions that divided the
constitutional convention and so let's go inside the gallery. let's look at the declaration of independence, step back a sec, and think about what jefferson was trying to achieve and how the ideals and promises of liberty and equality that he declared ultimately evolved through the constitution and ended up in the bill of rights. so this is the george w. bush bill of rights gallery. the first document that we see as we come in here is a rare copy of the declaration of independence. this is the one that was lent to us by david rubenstein and this is really remarkable story about how this document came to pass. the copy of the declaration that most people think about is in the national archives. that was the one that the framers famously signed, that john hancock vividly said i'm going to sign so big that king george can read it without his spectacles. that's hancock's big signature.
the thing about the document that is now in the national archives is even by the 1820s, it was becoming beat. it was really beat up when dolley madison rolled it up to save it during the war of 1812, and president john quincy adams became concerned that the original was going to fade so much that it couldn't be read. so he commissioned in 1820 an engraver called stone to make a perfect copy of the declaration that would look even more like the real thing than any other print. there was only one problem. stone came up with, by some accounts, a rather cutting edge copying technique that involved taking a wet cloth, which was soaked with acid, and lifting half of the ink off of the original declaration and putting it on a copper plate that was made to make this copy. the result of all of this is that the original declaration was even worse shape that the one that originally was, but
this spectacular copy is pristine and looked more like the copy the framers signed in 1776 than the one in the archives. the bad news for the original declaration, good news for those of us lucky enough to have copies of this precious stone declaration. 200 cop as were originally made and sent out to important institutions and public officials. about 27 or so of these copies survived, and this is one of them. so now let's talk about the ideas that are represented in this declaration. the declaration of independence has three parts. it had a preamble which now has become the most important part of the original document. it has a middle section listing the sins of the king of england and a third section declaring america is going to break free of england. it's the preamble, the first section, that essentially contains the entire theory of
american government in a single paragraph. if you want to understand the natural rights philosophy that animated the framers, all you have to do is return to the preamble. i could try to do it by heart, but i'm going to read the preamble. i was going to read my cheat sheet, which is a pocket copy of the constitution. the second paragraph of the declaration of independence. we hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal, they're endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights. that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. but to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just power from the consent of the governed. that whenever any form of government becomes destructive of those ends, it's the right of the people to alter and abolish it and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in
such form, as to then shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness. there it is. that language about the right of the people to alter and abolish government. that's the fundamental and unalienable right of revolution. and that's a right that you can't surrender to government even if you want to because it's what insures that government is going to keep its end of the bargain and protect your natural rights rather than threatening them. that right to alter and abolish government was what the signers of the declaration were exercising when they risked their lives, their fortune, their sacred honor for the incredibly risky move of declaring independence from britain and constituting a new government and that right we'll see in our next document, the constitution, codified in article v, which allows people to amend the constitution when they think it needs to be changed. that's why that paragraph is incredibly important. the declaration of independence is not only a promise of
liberty, but it's also a promise of equality. that's the most famous second sentence of the preamble. i can read it quite well. let me read it again. we hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal. that promise of equality, of course, was one that jefferson violated in his personal conduct, the fact that he had and kept slaves, and we had an incredibly moving exhibit called jefferson and slavery that was at the constitution center recently that came to us from monticello and tells the story of the traces jefferson's descendants, with sally hemings and reminds us so vividly of the clash between jefferson's ideals and his actions. and other framers, too, had slaves, and the blight of slavery was one that divided the
original constitutional convention and almost prevented it from being ratified. here we have this promise of equality and we realize looking forward that jefferson's promise that all men are created equal wasn't vindicated until the civil war. it took lincoln's promise at gettysburg, a new birth of freedom. it took the bloodiest war in american history, where 17,000 men were killed. 23,000 killed or wounded, and finally, and most importantly, it took the post-civil war amendments to the constitution, the 13th amendment, abolishing slavery, which turns 150 this year, which you can see at the constitution center. we have an original copy of the 13th amendment, also lent by david rubenstein, which is signed by abraham lincoln and is the beginning of the fulfillment of jefferson's promise. then the 14th amendment which guarantees equality to all persons and prohibits states as well as the federal government
to deny liberties or privileges or immunities to citizens and the 15th amendment which gave african-americans the right to vote. all three of those turn 150 over the next five years. we're commemorating, celebrating, and debating their meaning here at the national constitution center, but we have to be reminded that the declaration was essentially a promissory note. jefferson offered the ideal of equality, but it took the civil war, it took that astonishing sacrifice of life and treasure and blood to incorporate these amendments into the constitution and make the promise of equality a reality. so now it is time to look at, to stand in the presence of the first public printing of the constitution. this is a very exciting document as well. so there are several important original copies of the constitution.
there's the one that was signed in philadelphia at independence hall in 1787. now in the national archives. there are engrossed copies of the first public printings of them, but this is the first copy that we the people of the united states actually saw. it's called the pennsylvania packet, and that's because it was printed in the pennsylvania packet newspaper on september 19th, 1787, two days after the constitution was signed on september 17th, which we celebrate as constitution day. the pennsylvania packet was a newspaper that was owned by john dunlap and david claypool. john dunlap had a great gig. he was the printer who did the engrossed or original copies of the declaration of the constitution and on the side he ran one of philadelphia's biggest and best read newspapers, it was called the pennsylvania packet.
it sold for 4 pence, as you can see here, and what's so exciting about this document is that it's the first copy that we the people of the united states actually read and saw. so that's why some scholars believe that this copy is even more constitutionally significant than the one in the national archives, because after all, the constitution did not become the supreme law of the land when congress proposed it in independence hall. it took the ratification and special conventions to give it the weight of supreme law. in order to become ratified, there had to be a national debate, and citizens read and debated arguments like the federalist papers written by madison and hamilton that were published as pamphlets and gave justification for the constitution. there were opposing pamphlets by those who thought it shouldn't be ratified. the popular debate was center to what makes the constitution our
supreme law, and imagine people clamoring to get this newspaper, wondering what had happened in secret in constitution hall, and seeing this incredibly plain newspaper, no ads, just a printing of the entire text of the constitution with a little bit of preambulatory material. it says it's signed by george washington, the president of the convention. it has a preamble that says the states, it lists all of them individually, resolved this be sent out to the people for ratification, and there's a letter from george washington as well. you can see it on both sides. the ss are written like fs in the style of the day, which can be a little jarring at the beginning. we the people of the united states in order to form a more perfect union, looks like f-stablished justice. but you get used to it as you go along, and here's the constitution of the united states.
here we are, let's imagine we are the citizens of philadelphia, picking it up. i don't know if they got it from news stands or if it was posted on the street, reading it and trying to decide whether or not they would allow the ratifying conventions to approve it and to speak in their name. why was the constitution proposed? after jefferson wrote the declaration of independence, the revolutionary war was fought, and the 13 colonies created a government under document known as the articles of confederation. passed in 1777 by the continental congress. it was drafted in 1776 and approved in 1777. so we see from the explanation that it was six pages long. it contained 13 articles, but there was a problem with the articles of confederation. it was too loose a union.
and as a result, the government that resulted was not strong enough to wage war, to maintain fiscal unity, to manage the economy. during the revolutionary war, george washington famously struggled to get the funds necessary to actually conduct the war. he was always writing to the continental congress asking for more money. under the articles of confederation, the colonies were not able to avoid that problem with lack of coordination. as a result, there was unrest. debtors rebellions transfixed the framers. shea's rebellion in massachusetts where debtors rioted and refused to pay creditors alarmed people like james madison who believed the first object of government was the protection of private property. and madison, therefore, and others like him, faced a dilemma. on the one hand, they wanted the government that was strong enough to do what the articles of confederation could not do, which was to allow the raising
of taxes for war and economic union, but on the other hand, they wanted a government constrained enough not to menace the basic unalienable natural rights that they thought the government was created to protect. so this is the central drama in the constitution. how to create that balance. and there were different proposals for structuring the government. there were proposals to create the legislature, that is one house or a bicameral legislature, two houses, and that was the option eventually chosen, blending representations from the small states who each got two votes in the senate, with representation from the large states, who were represented by population in the house. that separation of the house and senate was one of the ways that madison and the other framers insisted on separating power to insure that one branch didn't become tyrannical and dominate the others. madison was most concerned about
tyranny in the legislative branch. he saw what happened to states legislatures onto the articles, threatened private property and refused to pay the war debts. so he wants to constrain congress. in article one of the constitution, he set out a government of limited powers, but the idea is that the power isn't granted, then it's reserved or retained by the people. the presidency is also spelled out, although there was less attention paid to the president and abused by the executive branch than the legislative branch and also the judicial branch is created as well. at the constitutional convention, toward the end, a big debate arose about whether or not to include a bill of rights. anti-federalists like george mason from virginia, who had written the virginia declaration of rights that was the most important source of jefferson's declaration of independence, had
initially supported the constitution, but became concerned because it didn't include a declaration of rights, the government might menace the natural rights it was created to protect. so mason and two others, gary of massachusetts, and edmund randolph, refused to sign the constitution because it didn't contain a bill of right. james madison initially denied the need for a bill of rights on two grounds. he said it could be unnecessary or dangerous. unnecessary because the constitution itself was a bill of rights by constraining congress and only granting it enumerated powers, it insures government couldn't threaten liberty, but he also worried it wasn't necessary because if you wrote down certain rights, people in the future might assume if the right wasn't written down, it wasn't protected. that's why he initially said no. based on the opposition of the anti-federalists, people in the states who read copies of the constitution like this one in the pennsylvania packet began to demand a bill of right and
several of the state ratifying conventions insists on subsequent amendments as part of the ratification. as a result of this ground swell of popular demand for a bill of rights, james madison changed his mind. one of the great examples of this pragmatic moderate, flexible politician, listening to the will of the people, and in 1789, he went to congress and proposed a bill of rights. we're going to talk about that bill of rights and see one of the 12 surviving original copies in a moment. so now it is time to talk about the bill of rights. we have here commissioned philadelphia artists to do renditions of each of the ten amendments to the constitution that are known as the bill of rights. and it's a great parlor game. what do you think this one is?
i never got them immediately when i saw them, either, but this is speedy trial. the sixth amendment, in all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy trial. there are two places in the constitution that spell out a specific dollar amount. you see a $20 bill. what amendment is this? why of course, it's the seventh amendment right to civil jury trial, suits of common law with value and controversy exceeds $20, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved. this is the goriest of our amendments, it is the eighth amendment's prohibition on cruel and unusual punishments, and with tasteful gothic vividness, we have a couple of very creepy punishments prohibited by the eighth amendment. this is one of the most hotly contested, the ninth amendment that says that the enumeration of the constitution in certain rights shall not be construed to
deny or disparage people. this is what we talked about a moment ago, if you wrote down certain rights, people might assume it wasn't protected. this says don't assume this is a complete list. people's unalienable lists may contain other rights, and these rights come from god and not from government. there's a lovely version of the tenth amendment, balancing federal and state power. in a form. this is lots of fun. check these out online. constitutioncenter.org, and see what you think of these renditions. we're about to go see one of the most priceless documents in american constitutional history. one of the 12 surviving copies of the bill of rights. in october of 1789, george washington sent 13 copies of the bill of rights to the states and one to the federal government so
that they could debate whether or not to ratify it. 12 of those copies survived. this is one of them. there are two unidentified copies in the national archives, there are two copies, and basically, two of the surviving copies are unidentified. this is one of those unidentified copies. for the past 100 years, it's been in the new york public library, in new york. through a historic and really wonderful sharing agreement, the new york public library and the commonwealth of pennsylvania have agreed to share this priceless original copy of the bill of rights for the next 100 years. you can see it here at the national constitution center for three years and then it will go back to the new york public library and come back to pennsylvania, and it will go back and forth like a precious constitutional football so that we can share it and display it to the public and as many of you as possible can actually see the original. when we go into see the original copy of the bill of rights, there are a few striking things about it. most striking thing for those of
us who think of the bill of rights as being limited to ten amendments is that the original has 12. there are 12 amendments that were sent out to the states for ratification. in fact, james madison had proposed as many as 19 amendments. you will see that the first amendment that's written on the original bill of rights is not the one we thing of. congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech of press. instead, it had to do with the size of congress. it says there shall be one representative of congress for every 40,000 people, essentially. if that amendment had passed, there would be more than 4,000 representatives in congress today. as opposed to 435. imagine the debates that would have resulted. but that reminds us that the framers were centrally concerned about the size of congress and keeping representatives close to the people. the second amendment, you'll see in a moment, says that congress can't raise its salary without an intervening election.
that's the amendment that was eventually ratified in the 1990s and is our 27th amendment. how interesting, isn't it? the first two have to do with power. james madison is concerned about apportionment and abuse of powers of the legislature. our first amendment is the original third amendment. so although we shouldn't for a moment deny the centrality of freedom of speech, it wasn't the concern that was foremost in the framers' mind. they were more concerned about questions involving congressional apportionment. we're about to go in to see the original bill of rights. it's going to be dark because of the extraordinary rare nature of the document, we can't put light on it. it's encased in an extraordinary carrying case that i'll tell you a little bit about. let's go see the original bill of rights.
so this is one of the 12 surviving original copies of the bill of rights. we see john adams' signature on the bottom. he's signing it as vice president of the united states. and president of the tenet. it has a preamble and as i mentioned, there were 13 original copies of the bill of rights. and one for the federal government that were sent out to the states and the feds. 12 of these copies survived. eight states have their original copies and currently display them. four states don't. those states are georgia, maryland, new york, and pennsylvania. this is one of those unidentified copies. that was in the new york public library for 100 years and is now being shared by new york and pennsylvania for the next 100 years. and sent out by george washington on october 2nd.
faded but still very distinct. the question of how states get their copies back has resulted in some amazing detective work. north carolina's original copy went missing for a long time, and it was recently returned to the state of north carolina as a result of an fbi sting operation that was engineered with the help of the national constitution center. you can read that riveting story in a book called "lost right." we're so proud and excited to be displaying this copy with our great partners at the new york public library. it was an amazing example of collaboration to get this document here in a way that was safe to display. this document is encased in a very elaborate carrying case filled with a gas called argon, which maintained perfect humidity conditions.
behind this beautiful and extremely elaborate carrying case is a room that has very perfect humidity control and in the small event anything happened to the carrying case, it would be preserved in the back room, but it's being presented according to the most rigorous preservation standards and we're so excited and honored to be a steward for this remarkable document moving forward. now we move from the 18th century to the 21st century. and this interactive display is in some ways my favorite part of this entire extraordinary and exciting exhibit because you, the people, can engage with it online as well as here at the constitution center. it's called writing rights, and it was developed with our great partners at constitute, the leading database that collects
global constitutions, with seed money provided by google idea. and this interactive that was developed with constitute and zach elkins, who teaches at the university of texas at austin, allows you to do two things. you can trace the documentary sources of the bill of rights, the revolutionary era state constitutions that jefferson and madison drew on in writing the declaration of independence and the bill of rights, and then you can trace the spread of each liberty in the bill of rights across the globe and compare how constitutions around the world protect liberty. so let's -- i love to watch visitors to the constitution center just engaging with this and clicking on their countries and tracing the sources of the bill of rights. i could spend hours playing with it. let's just check it out.